Feb 3, 2018 – Time has run out and there is no tooth crown.
Waiting to depart Jolly Beach
Off to St Martin at 1:15am Monday morning in what should have been almost perfect conditions. It was 13hours of lumpy bumpy. We anchored in a rolly Simpson Bay when we arrived Monday afternoon. The next morning, we took the 9:30 Bridge opening into the much calmer lagoon.
Sunset from Simpson Bay
some big beautiful ships docking
Randy dropped the dinghy to take us into clear customs and Immigration. Our boat registration was out of date!! I thought they were going to kick us out – send us back out into that shitty shitty Ocean – that’s it! I’m done! Book me a plane. Polar vortex here I come! Seasickness doesn’t just make me want to barf, it makes me a little crazy too! Poor Randy, poor customs officials – everyone assured me they weren’t kicking us out. Just get a copy of the updated registration before we leave. Relax; here’s a Kleenex; everything’s fine; don’t worry. Such nice people.
Cleared in and hoisting the St Maarten, Duch Antilles flag!
Island Water World in St Martin is like a candy store for sailors. They have some of the best prices in the Caribbean which is why we came here to replace the dinghy motor. After much research and debate, we settled on a Nissan 18 hp. And of course there are bits and parts and pieces that we must have, replace, replenishing.
The wind is usually much less in an enclosed place like a lagoon. For a week the wind howled through here like a banshee (not sure what that is, but I hear they howl loudly). I can’t imagine what it was like outside. The first few days of it, we felt obliged to stay on the boat to make sure we (and our neighbours) were tightly hooked. Our spot in front of Palapa Marina gave us a good view of some big boats docking.
Sunset from Lagoonie’s dingy dock
Once we were comfortable with our anchor, we were able to find a few good restaurants and bars with wifi, some shopping and boat chores to keep us busy.
Friday looked like perfect wind to sail back to Antigua. Thursday we cleared out of the country, took the 5:00 Bridge opening out into the Bay and anchored for the night. We just got our anchor set and the bridle attached when I looked up to see a very big motor yacht (I mean like 200 feet big) anchoring just to our starboard. They only stayed for an hour or two – probably eating dinner – then upped anchor and left. We got a good up close view of her though- pretty boat.
Big bot anchored close
Even closer as they picked up anchor
Sunset from Simpson Bay before leaving for Antigua.
Once there was just light enough to see where our anchor was, we raised anchor, headed into the wind to raise the main sail – up, up, and…….WTF! The topping lift line broke and its wrapping itself around the back stay. Turn the boat around, re-anchor, send a shout out to see if we can get someone to climb the mast and untangle us.
Jakob from Pyrate Fish to the rescue!
Oh boaters are wonderful people! Jakob, a young man from Pyrate Fish, radioed to say he’d be happy to help. And another gallant fellow James (whose boat name has escaped me – started with an “E”- it might even be Escape) came to lend a hand.
When Jakob said he was like “Monkey Boy” he wasn’t just kidding. He climbed that mast (strapped in of course) faster than Randy could pull the halyard up! Jakob checked that everything was in its proper place up there and down he came. He closed the mast steps with his feet – Monkey Boy in deed!
Closing mast steps with his feet as he descends –
So, all squared away and off we go – a few hours later than planned but we expected to be anchoring in Jolly Beach Bay in the dark anyway. We know it well and it’s wide open – no big deal. The wind is not coming from where it was predicted. Maybe when we get past the island….nope. Well let’s see if it’s better to sail to Nevis first. Change course, better, not great but better. Calculate timing- Nevis in 7 hour. That would be dark in a strange harbour. Nope, not comfortable with that. Do we bash for 13 hour to Antigua? Or turn around and try another day? Turn around!
And pieces of the broken topping lift
We motor back to Simpson Bay where we are a little early for the 3:00 Bridge, so we anchor again. At 2:50 we lift anchor, go through the bridge and anchor again (You’d think I should be getting better at this but it still makes me nervous). We settle in and get ready to launch the dinghy. It’s already too late to clear in. Shelley and John Sanford-Davis stop by to say hello. We’ve only ever spoken to Shelley and John on the internet, but have many mutual friends. It’s so nice to finally meet them.